§ Mr. Field
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list whether the index of average earnings, new series or older series, was used for each of the upratings of the long-term benefits index in the Social Security Act 1975.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The November 1978 up-rating was the only up-rating under the provisions of the Social Security Act 1975 in which long term benefits were increased in line with the estimated movement in average earnings. That increase was based on the Government's forecast of the movements of earnings over the period November 1977 to November 1978 but subsequent comparison with the Department of Employment's monthly index of average earnings—new series—showed that the forecast had, in fact, fallen short. As the hon. Member will be aware, the increase in pensions which we are introducing in November takes account of that shortfall.